GIVEAWAY IS CLOSED
Check HERE for open giveaways
A few weeks ago, I was delighted to discover that Veronica Rossi, Cynthia Hand, and Tahereh Mafi were going on tour again and adding Eve trilogy author Anna Carey to the lineup. Plus, this coincided nicely with the end of TLA as I had an hour to make the short drive from the Ft. Worth convention center to the Hurst Barnes & Noble, eat, and generally relax after such a tiring but exhilerating conference. The ladies did a nice long Q&A session (with plenty of mentions of Chapter 62) followed by a signing. Since I already met Veronica, Cynthia, and Tahereh and had them sign my personal copies of their books, I had plenty of time to have them sign giveaway copies!
Q&A + contest details under the cut! Let me just say that this Q&A was AMAZING. The authors were a little late and kind of flustered from traffic, but they didn't let it faze them at all. They were so warm and friendly and chock full of great stories and advice. This is definitely worth a read.
Katie from Mundie Moms moderated.
Q1. Moderator question: Introduce your series. (note: I did skip the general summary each author gave of their series. We all know their books. I just kept the funny bits to this question)
Veronica Rossi (VR): There's a boy. Under the Never Sky is kind of like the Amazing Race if the end result is that you get to live at the end.
Tahereh Mafi (TM): Well, there's a boy. Untitle Me is the working title for Shatter Me #3. Juliette is kind of like Aria, who was accused of a crime and shunned by society, but Juliette is actually guilty, even though she didn't mean to do it. By the third book, she's like, "Screw everything, I'm gonna kick everybody's ass!"
Cynthia Hand (CH): In Unearthly there's a boy, the boy from Clara's vision, AND another boy!
Anna Carey (AC): In Eve, Eve, guess what? Meets a boy!
Q2. Moderator question: Fave boy in each other's series?
TM: Tucker. My Obsession with Tucker inspired my friendship with Cynthia. Tucker Avery, you win ALL the awards! I was a fan of Cynthia's and kind of nerded out on her.
CH: Well, I was a fan of Tahereh's so there was mutual nerding out.
Q3. Audience question: Going back to the boy thing, Tahereh has the spiciest love scenes. How do you write those scenes and face your mom and brothers the next day?
TM: Oh, my poor mother. The funny thing is that you know Adam has a bird tattoo and my brother....ALSO has a bird tattoo. He read that and called me to say, "Ew, what's WRONG with you?!" My mom gets a kick out of it. She keeps suggesting these titles for #3 that she doesn't understand are really dirty. She's like, "You should call 3 'Caress Me' or 'Unshackle Me!'"
*raucous audience laughter*
Q4. Audience question: Film rights optioned for Under the Never Sky?
VR: I hope it'll happen. It's like a priveleged thing, but it puts you in the running. It's definitely possible. Currently Warner Bros. owns the rights.
AC: Eve was optioned first by ABC Family and then bought by Warner Bros.
Q5. Audience question: Are you scared about the movies? Do you want to work with "them" [those in charge of production]?
CH: I sold the rights to Unearthly to the CW last season. At that point, you have to realize it's not YOUR baby anymore, you have to let it go. That being said, I'm actually really glad it didn't happen.
AC: I think, yeah, I might let "them" make a movie out of them [her books].
Q6. My question: Can I just say, Tahereh, it would be ironic and awesome if Shatter Me were optioned by Warner Bros? *everybody laughs* [side note: it's actually been optioned by 21st Century Fox, but seriously Warner Bros dropped the ball on that one! :P] Tahereh and Veronica, you both mentioned during your Dark Days tour in February that you were working novellas in between #2 and #3 in your series. Any updates?
VR: Yes! I'm working on it. It needs to be a lot lighter from the books so it's going to be another character's pov. I can't say who it is or what it is yet.
TM: Yes, supposedly will be released in December, but I haven't done it yet. Actually, I like asking you guys, who do you want it to be about?
Me: I'm pretty sure most of us would love a story about KENJI!
TM: Yeah, I get that a lot. Let's vote. Hands up for Kenji. *half of the audience's hands go up* And hands up for Warner. *exactly the other half vote for Warner* I'll see what I can do.
Q7. Audience question: Tahereh, the fans threaten you about the endings. How do you feel about that.
TM: Honestly, someone WILL be mad after. They're like, "I'll kill you if Juliette isn't with Adam" or "I'll never read your books again if Juliette doesn't end up with Warner." I do take feedback. Maybe I'll do chapter 62 from Warner's pov or something. *audience gives appreciative catcalls*
VR: I also try to make readers happy, but I have to love what I'm writing so I always come back to my outline. I have to stay true to what the characters need and the world I created.
CH: Ugh, I get really annoyed not by fans, but by people who post spoilers on twitter directly AT my fans. Clara drove herself. I couldn't change her destiny if I'd tried. She ended up with who she wanted to end up with. I do know what happens after.
AC: My novels were published really quickly, like only 9 months apart so there's now a push for bonus content for me like an epilogue *audience cheers* letters, deleted and stuff. Publishing has become so fluid with the freedom to publish content on blogs, twitter, etc.
Q8. Audience question: Any advice for aspiring authors?
VR: Read a ton, write a ton, and don't be afraid to try different things. Don't give up.
TM: I second that. The never-give-up thing has been everything for me. Keep pushing. You have to believe in yourself. There are many talented people who aren't successful because they gave up too soon.
CH: Writing a novel is the best way to learn how to write a novel. Study the craft. Expose yourself to others' ideas. Theory really helps.
AC: I agree! Read as much as you can, write as much as you can, and SHARE your work! Not just with your friends and family who say, "Oh, this is awesome," but getting constructive feedback and workshopping with other writers. Keep the faith. I couldn't find the voice for a new series for months. I finally turned in a draft on Monday and went on vacation on Thursday. Friday, I sat down on the beach, opened a book, and the idea hit and I knew it would work. I sent my agent an email saying I'd send her a new draft asap. I had one ready a couple days later. That was how I came up with Eve.
Q9. Audience question: Do you copyright your work before you submit it?
CH: I think no. Definitely document that it's your idea, but you really don't need to.
AC: I can say this because I know a bit about that side of publishing: no. Starting out, you fear that someone will steal your idea, but you are the generator. Nobody can steal that exact idea from you. Nobody can write that novel except for you.
Q10. Audience question: How do you get the inspiration for your books? Do you read a lot of poetry or what?
TM: No. I'm a lifelong reader. My books are the consequence of everything that has happened to me. It's the input that becomes output. This is because of this or maybe that other thing. I have five failed manuscripts before Shatter Me. I was struck with the image of a girl, terrified, curled into herself in a dark corner, guilty of a crime, but upset about committing it. I wasn't inspired by anything in particular but maybe subconsciously.
VR: I also have two manuscripts collecting dust. I'm actually a science nerd I collect nonfiction about genetics and whatever. I read about radical evolution, how the human body is the next frontier for technologyl. I really wanted to juxtapose that with a more primitive society. I also went to art school so I think like that as well.
TM: I really love how you explained it at one of the other stops.
VR: Really? I wasn't going to talk about that this time, but okay. One night I looked at my son playing, I think, Plants vs. Zombies, on the ipad. He had this really intense face, lit by the glow of the ipad. The next day, he swam all day so he was a little sunburned. We had a bonfire and made smores. I looked at him covered in smores, lit by firelight, and very dreamlike. Those two snapshots really inspired my two worlds.
CH: I had a long dry spell before Unearthly. I'd spent five years on a literary manuscript. Then, I swear, the thing that changed was that I lost free cable. A week later, I was watching a dvd with my husband with the sound low so not to wake the baby. I had macaroni stuck to my shirt. I'll always remember that macaroni. All of a sudden, I was hit with the desire to write. It wasn't inspiration for Unearthly necessarily, just the need to write. A week later, I started to write Unearthly. I asked questions. It unrolled like a carpet and I just walked down it from there.
AC: I had this adult book about a woman in a walled complex, and everything she learned was a lie. The best ideas come from obsessions. I had a bad idea and threw it away. Four months later, I wrote Eve. That first book was my first bad draft of Eve. Always finish. No work is ever wasted. You learn as you fail.
Q11. Did you ever start on a book and get stuck?
VR: I do have one idea set aside, other than those first three manuscripts [UTNS + two bad scripts previously mentioned]. Ever hear a song and feel liked you've heard it before? Ideas are like that. The idea isn't gone, it just isn't the right time for it.
TM: In the writing world, we call those SNI: the shiny new idea. It's like it's dressed in a red skirt and lipstick, batting its eyelashes. Starting it is a bad idea. I actually have a blog post about it. Go back to the original manuscript. I haven't not finished a manuscript once I started. It's like I must finish to make sure it really is crap.
CH: Too many ideas! Once you get used to using imagination, it's freeing. I have a notebook for each idea. I don't cheat on my manuscript, but I like to flirt with each new idea. I had a fierce idea while working on Hallowed and wrote 70 pages of notes. Not all ideas will become books but it's a nice problem to have.
AC: Yes! All the time! Page 70 or 80 is when you get committed to a manuscript and it's when SNIs happen. It can get problematic, and the allure of SNI is that much more powerful. Some ideas are not novels, but they may be short stories, movies, tv shows. Ideas follow me around, but they really need to have that intensity.
Q12. Moderator question: Do you have a favorite side character that surprised you?
VR: Roar. Soren. Side characters really want to take over sometimes. Thank goodness for novellas!
TM: Warner, although he's not a side character anymore. Chapter 62! *girly squeals from audience* Discounting Warner, definitely Kenji. I was like, "Where'd this guy come from?" and he was like, "I'm staying!" Kenji's voice is just like my brothers. I lifted conversations directly from them. I was at a party with my brother and told him to lower his voice. He said no so I asked him why not. He replied, "if I lower my voice, I won't be able to hear myself talk!" I put that directly into Unravel Me.
Audience member: Is this the same brother as the bird tattoo?
TM: No, it's another brother.
CH: I get dangerously attached to my side characters because I see a huge amount of life for them. Angela really does unexpected things. Sam. I liked seeing him more. He was a very complicated character.
AC: Arden. She's that quintessential person w a hard exterior, squishy interior. She was inspired by my best friend from college. Clara and Charles also, part of this elite, priveleged upbringing. I wanted to hate them, and I was determined to during the second book, but getting to know them, it's harder to hate them if you know why they are the way they are.
Q13. Audience question: Did you ever consider leaving the series while writing?
CH:That's the beauty of contracts, but I always think, "Maybe I can't do this." Every single book. You have to have faith that you will figure it out. There was a bump while I was writing Boundless because I envisioned it as two books and had to cut things out. You will find your way out. It's like driving in the dark and you only have headlights. But a contract really helps you not give up because you'd have to pay back a lot of money.
AC: Get through it any way you can. Finish what you started. It's just a first draft. You can't revise a blank page. Outlining isn't sexy, but do it. I like writing scenes I'm most excited about. Chapter 62! *girly squeals from audience* Build it out from there.
TM: I spent lots of time on Chapter 62 *more squeals*, and I kept going back. Short answer: I didn't consider cutting my contract, but I DID consider jumping out of a winder, jumping into the ocean... I'm revising the third book and had to plow through it. You can't revise a blank page! The idea like a skeleton with a beating hear, you have to add flesh and skin and tendons, ligaments, arteries... I'm gonna stop there with this metaphor. Revision process is UGH! In my head, I always knew what was going to happen. Part of the reason I write is to figure out what happens to the characters. You have to stay interested and go back in. I write by the Butt In Chair method for writing. It's the only way to get through it.
VR: I agree with everything. I had help from my editors. For the tough spots, you're not in a vacuum, you have friends and editors. I like this quote from Pixar that goes something like, "Be wrong as rapidly as possible." It's not the time to edit in the first draft. First you're laying down that skeleton and heart, then it can be molded into a real story.
Q14. Audience question: Not a questions, but I started reading ya to connect with my teenage daughters until I started reading the books faster than my daughters! Moms love you and the kids love you too!
AC: That's what's cool about reading ya: all ages can read it. It's really fun to write big epic stories without being tied to a specific genre like adult authors.
Me with Anna Carey (and MM Katie in the background)
Aaaand, what you've all been waiting for: another giveaway! Details: This one is open to entrants in the US and Canada who are at least 13 years old. Prizes are: signed hardback Unearthly trilogy by Cynthia, signed hardback (original cover) of Shatter Me by Tahereh, signed hardback of Under the Never Sky by Veronica, and a signed paperback of Eve by Anna. Good luck & as the saying goes, may the odds be ever in your favor!
Note: Please know that I DO verify all entries, and yes, I have had to take away a prize from a winner who lied about an entry. Don't be that person. You don't have to follow me, but please don't lie about it.
a Rafflecopter giveaway